Media Release

Stepping Up Initiative Seminar with Judge Steven Leifman and Leon Evans

Friday, March 3, 2017 11:30 AM

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The public is invited to a free seminar by Judge Steven Leifman and Leon Evans on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 6 p.m. at the Bob Graham Center (Pugh Hall, Ocora, 296 Buckman Drive, UF Campus). They will discuss cutting-edge community programs developed as part of the national “Stepping Up” initiative. These programs are aimed at reducing incarceration rates among those with mental illness. The event is co-sponsored by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Stepping Up Alachua, and the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.

This seminar is part of a series tailored specifically to this community’s professionals including law enforcement officials, attorneys, court staff, and health providers aiming to inform on the issue of high numbers of incarceration and the development of alternatives for people with mental illness.

The Honorable Judge Steve Leifman of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida is the recipient of the William H. Rehnquist Award for Judicial Excellence. He received the award for his groundbreaking work helping people with mental illnesses. He is the Chair of the Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Supreme Court of Florida.

Mr. Leon Evans is the Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Health Care Services in Bexar County, Texas. He developed an award-winning jail diversion program and has become a national leader in improving mental health care through multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Alachua County is part of the national Stepping Up Initiative, whose focus is to reduce the number of people with mental illness in the jails. In June 2016, one-third of the Alachua County Jail inmates were receiving psychiatric treatment; nationwide, more individuals with mental illnesses are in jails than psychiatric hospitals. Florida ranks 50th among states in per capita expenditure for mental health treatment.

The seminar will be streamed live at the Bob Graham Center website.

View/download the seminar flyer.

For more information, contact Latoya Gainey in the Alachua County Commission Office at 352-264-6920 or


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).